WWE announces tournament to crown the first ever United Kingdom Champion
In a press conference at the O2 Arena this morning, Triple H announced a 16-man tournament to determine the first ever WWE United Kingdom Champion. The tournament will take place at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, England on January 14th and 15th, only on the WWE Network (for $9.99). William Regal and Ireland’s Finn Balor were also there for the announcement.
Talk about a game changer. When the Cruiserweight Classic was announced, it provided fans a platform to see the best high flyers in the world. There were rumors that there would be a women’s tournament coming up to go along with the revolution that has been taking place. It appears that WWE will first look to showcase the top talent the UK (England, Ireland, Scotland) has to offer.
The UK has taken over the wrestling scene over the past few years. Zach Sabre Jr., Will Ospreay, Jimmy Havoc, Drew Galloway, Jack Jester and Marty Scurll are just a few wrestlers who have helped make the UK a dominant wrestling region.
Places like PROGRESS, Revolution Pro Wrestling, ICW and OTT are a few promotions that the talent announced will be representing in the tournament. There are others from the newly formed What Culture Pro Wrestling that will also be involved. The participants include:
– Trent Seven (current PROGRESS Tag Team Champion)
– Jack Starz
– Pete Dunne (current PROGRESS Tag Team and Wrestling Champion)
– Wolfgang (current ICW Heavyweight Champion)
– Roy Johnson
– Sam Gradwell
– James Drake
– Jordan Devlin
– Tyler Bate
– Joseph Conners
– Tyson T. Bone
– HC Dyer
– Dan Moloney
– Chris Tyler (current Southside Tag Team Champion)
– Saxon Huxley
– Ringo Ryan
– Tiger Ali (former 4-Front Wrestling Champion)
(Note: there are 18 competitors listed, meaning two will most likely be eliminated somehow).
That’s not all. Joining Michael Cole on commentary (it won’t be Mauro Ranallo on the call this time), will be a true legend in the UK scene. Longtime Ring of Honor member Nigel McGuinness will represent the wrestling side of the commentary team. The former matchmaker of ROH has history with several WWE talent, including ROH alum Daniel Bryan. There were rumors that Nigel would leave his duties as ROH matchmaker in order to take a WWE coaching job. This opportunity might be the confirmation we were looking for.
Not much other information was given in regards to the future of the championship (which looks really cool). Will the title only be defended in the UK? That would be a great opportunity for WWE to have its own show/presence in the UK. Will only UK fighters be able to wrestle for it? Will the title be brought into the US and be defended like the European Title was (used from 1997-2002)? I’m sure in due time all of these questions will be answered.
According to reports, this tournament will not affect a wrestlers commitment to other promotions. This could also be a potential audition for a shot at WWE’s main roster, which for many would be a dream come true.
Come January, we will be seeing history being made (again). I’m ready for an international invasion, are you?
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